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First POST: Leeway

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 20 2014


  • President Obama told David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, that Snowden did not expose any crimes and complained that while he had raised “legitimate policy questions” the question was, “Is the only way to do that by giving some 29-year-old free rein to basically dump a mountain of information, much of which is definitely legal, definitely necessary for national security, and should properly be classified?”

  • As the New York Times national security reporters Eric Schmitt and David Sanger observed of Obama's comments to Remnick:

    "Mr. Obama insisted that 'the benefit of the debate he generated was not worth the damage done, because there was another way of doing it.' But he did not say what that way was, and even his own aides acknowledge that if Mr. Snowden had not made so much information public, it was doubtful that the president would have announced the reforms and further studies of N.S.A. actions that he spoke about on Friday.

  • Obama also told Remnick that while he believed the NSA has had "too much leeway to do whatever it wanted or could" he felt "confident that the way the NSA operates does not threaten the privacy and constitutional rights of Americans and that the laws that are in place are sound."

  • Conor Friedersorf evaluates President Obama's NSA reform speech, saying he "accepts the logic of staying terrorized."

  • Ryan Lizza calls the speech "a major victory for Snowden and NSA reformers."

  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that Edward Snowden must have had help from Russian intelligence, but cited no evidence for his claim.

  • From the website of WNYC's Brian Lehrer show, Jody Avirgan's post listing all the things we currently know the NSA can do is .

  • The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger offers "ten reasons why conservatives should take Edward Snowden seriously" in The Spectator.

In other news around the web:

  • A leading Egyptian intellectual has been charged with insulting the judiciary for a tweet he wrote criticizing a ruling against three American pro-democracy groups.

  • Brazilian young people are using social media to organize rolezinhos (little strolls) through shopping malls, a fad that has the government and business owners worried that last year's street protests could be coming back.

  • Facebook is the "on-ramp to the Internet" in the developing world, writes David Zax in FastCompany.